|Credit: Paula Thompson|
2012 marks the 20th anniversary of Kulwicki’s title run in 1992, likely the most exciting championship battle until the 2011 battle between Tony Stewart and Carl Edwards. Kulwicki was the “Underbird,” as his Ford was labeled, running against the Junior Johnson-owned Budweiser No. 11 of Bill Elliott and the Havoline No. 28 of second-generation driver Davey Allison. There were many years of racing leading up to that momentous occasion, and Alan Kulwicki – NASCAR Champion: Against All Odds by Father Dale Grubba, a Roman Catholic priest from Wisconsin who became a racing fan in the early 1960s, chronicles those years.
From his early days in karting to his short track and American Speed Association (ASA) days, from the day he sold his belongings and moved to North Carolina to the final hours leading up to his trip aboard N500AK, his private plane that crashed near Bristol Motor Speedway on April 1st, 1993, Father Grubba captured the story of Kulwicki, a story that was sometimes tragic but always inspiring.
Stories of Kulwicki’s days in the Wisconsin racing circles, such as his involvement in a fatal on-track accident that nearly made him give up racing, and stories of an amazing week in New York City as Cup Series champ surround the story of what became a short-lived career, the likes of which will never be witnessed again in NASCAR. While Stewart did win the 2011 title as a driver/owner, he didn’t do it like this.
An interesting aspect of this book: Father Grubba begins it with that fateful flight and crash, the impact it had on those closest to Kulwicki, and the sad trip his hauler took around Bristol for the final time…as a Kulwicki fan, it left me in tears.
In 10 short years, Alan Kulwicki left his mark on NASCAR. This book will leave a mark on fans who are looking to find out the rest of the story.
'Alan Kulwicki – NASCAR Champions: Against All Odds' and many of the other books you’ll see reviewed in Race Fan’s Book Shelf are available to purchase from Coastal 181 (http://www.coastal181.com/).